Al indice de articulos


La Historia Natural en la Ecología: ¿ni historia ni natural?


This article discusses the concept of Natural History in biology, and particularly ecology, with regard to the generation of knowledge by normal science. Natural History is basically a description of nature, and is often perceived as an objective biological basis upon wich theory is constructed and modified. However, Natural History seems to be constituted by different kinds of knowledge, resulting from a heterogeneous mixture of epistemological perspectives and views of the world. Clearly, the conflict between objectivity and subjectivity is far from being resolved, and still remains to be properly understood by scientists, even in ecology where the validity of its knowledge has been usually open to criticism. Part of the problem lies on the excessive confidence in the objectivity provided by methodological tools, neglecting the large influence of non scientific contexts, individual and collective systems of belief, and the differences in aesthetic perception, among other apects. Even though positive science is not art, scientists behave not so differently from artists in producing representations of nature, and they would likely obtain larger benefits if the subjective component of their work was recognized and incorporated into it.